I remember the times as a small kid living in an upmarket 'Bombay' locality, where I shared my apartment block with the likes of Indrani mukherjee, Harmesh Malhotra (Nagina fame), Asha Parekh and my neighbourhood with Sunil Dutt/Nargis Dutt , Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu, had friends who were kids of the rich and famous, went to the school which had Aaamir Khan as its alumni and paid 5 /- a month as fees. Till the time my height became a bit too obstructive for my dad to ride comfortably and we could afford a second hand maruti ( for a whopping 50000/-), The mode of tranport for my family of 4 was an original Vespa (1958 Model) which ferried us for years from Pali Hill in Bandra to Vashi in New Bombay
This was the last decade of what I call the Nehruvian legacy, After 40 years of socialism , there still were the haves and the havenots, and then there were us, "something in the middle & something in between" , the lucky few whose dad's had jobs with those prestigious public sectors financial institutions which had assets in the most posh localities, but operationally were just in line with the Hindu rate of growth, and so were the salaries and growth opportunities.
I was surely among the lucky ones,for me, I have always believed, the standard of life then, when my dad supported his family on a meager salary of less than 10K as a manager was better than what most people can ever have today. In spite of the big bucks just out of college grads make , most will never afford living in the same apartment, I was brought up in.
Probably Nehru had dreamed of an India where most would have been as lucky as i was, but unfortunately that did not or maybe could not have happened, those public sectors even after a good 40 years could be counted on your fingertips and therefore provide employment for maybe not even a % of the Indian populace, and that is where Nehru and later his successors failed to estimate growth rates which would have been required to provide equal opportunities to most. Our economy was growing at around 2 - 3 % whereas other Asian capatalist economies were booming led by japan and then followed by the south east asian economies , Korea and China.
And this, instead of bringing in equality and even distribution of wealth, in fact led to a widening of the Gap between the haves and the have nots, with the rich, who could "manage" the license raj getting richer, the priviledged educated elite who could land jobs in the public sector , Govt , administration or the bureaucracy a respectable lifestlye (though not much money to show) and the rest, the majority with almost nothing. Maybe the Green revolution of the late 60's / 70's was the only saviour for the large agricultural economy on which India survived those decades.
The key was to create millions of jobs, which never happened in the controlled License raj era and left a generation of unemployed undereducated Indians who form todays caste and class ridden Indian middle class who feel let down by the nation in not been given an equal opportunity to grow along with their few lucky countrymen.
I have been lucky and fortunate have been born in the era which witnessed the transition of India from the stifled growth decades of the 80's and early 90's to the era of the open markets today, its true, for me, i might never get to stay in apartment block on Nargis Dutt road in Pali Hill, but am happy for the millions of my countrymen who atleast have a job today and an opprtunity to change their and our country's fortune.
Only if we had started the process in the 50's along with the Japans of the world ...